Kansas governor signs bill protecting faith groups on campus

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Religious Objections Kansas_149996

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs legislation that will protect religious groups on college campuses by being punished by their schools for limiting membership to like-minded believers, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. Behind him are legislators who supported the measure (AP Photo/John Hanna).

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation allowing faith-based college groups to restrict membership to like-minded people, likely putting Kansas on a collision course with civil liberties groups.

The conservative Republican signed the bill Tuesday. The new law will take effect in July.

The Republican-dominated Legislature approved the bill this month, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that universities could require such groups to open their memberships to all.

Supporters have said the bill was a victory for religious freedom. Opponents say it was a veiled attempt to legalize discrimination.

Kansas already has a religious objections law preventing state or local governments from limiting people’s freedom to express their religion. But the law doesn’t touch on organizations at universities.

Kansas joins Oklahoma in having a campus-specific law.

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